NEWPORT - A day of discovery awaits visitors when Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center opens its doors for the third annual SeaFest celebration on Saturday, June 19. Doors open at 10 a.m. for the event, which combines marine science education outreach and family activities.

The center is OSU's 49-acre coastal facility of laboratories and offices where scientists from the university as well as federal and state agencies conduct research focusing on marine and coastal issues.

Speaking at the opening ceremony will be OSU President Edward Ray and Mark O. Hatfield, former Oregon governor and U.S. senator, whose leadership and support for marine science research over three decades is credited with helping develop the capacity that exists at the center today. The OSU marine science center was re-named in his honor in 1983.

"It will be especially appropriate for Sen. Hatfield to open SeaFest, because it highlights the research activities that his support fostered over the years," said , director of the HMSC. "This event provides an opportunity for the Newport community to come and express their thanks, and for people around the state to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the world-class research that goes on at the center."

Co-sponsoring the event with OSU are the university's partner agencies at the Hatfield Center: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In addition, more than 20 community organizations are also participating with activities and displays ranging from fossil displays to environmental education to use and understanding of our marine and coastal resources.

"We try to provide a wide range of interesting hands-on activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy at SeaFest," said Ken Hall, program manager at the center and coordinator of the event.

A new live turtle exhibit is being installed next to the popular touch tanks in the Visitor Center, where children are invited to touch starfish, sea urchins, anemones and other species from the intertidal zone on display. Lectures and special presentations will be held in the Hennings Auditorium throughout the day, and other buildings at HMSC will be open for back-wing tours, demonstrations, exhibits and scientific displays.

Visitors will also be able to walk out to the dock to see an OSU research vessel, the Elakha, and a visiting research vessel from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Researchers from OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences will also be on hand to demonstrate the use of oceanographic sampling gear, and answer questions about research.

A demonstration of a hovercraft vehicle is also planned, along with a display on land of the Canadian-built underwater research vehicle, "Aquarius," allowing visitors a rare chance to step inside a submersible.

For those interested in learning more about SeaFest 2004, information can be found online at the OSU website: or by calling 541-867-0212. Website information will be updated as activities are added to the schedule.

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Hatfield Marine Science Center, 541-867-0234